Clayton Eshleman The Whole Art is a book of essays homaging the work of the American poet/essayist/translator/editor Clayton Eshleman.
It is brilliantly edited by Stuart Kendall and superbly produced by Black Widow Press.
Contributors include James Hillman, Eliot Weinberger, Michael McClure and Rachel Blau DuPlessis.
Having met Clayton Eshleman in London at the Nancy Spero exhibition at the Serpentine, having later interviewed him for The Wolf, having corresponded with him regularly, and having published some of his poems in International Times, I was invited by Stuart Kendall to contribute an essay to the book. It was suggested I write about Eshleman as a political poet, which was a good brief for me. Eshleman’s engagement is one of the things I admire most about his work, as well as his eye for the shamanistic.
My piece is called ‘The Outright Lie”: Clayton Eshleman and the Rules of Engagement. It discusses the problems faced by political poets, with reference to Blake’s America a Prophecy and Robert Duncan’s ‘Up Rising’.
As an old Beat, it was gratifying in the notes on contributors section to see my blurb just below that of Michael McClure, who has contributed a poem of homage called ‘Smile of the Beast’ which is dedicated to Eshleman.
Photo: Julie Goldsmith